COLLEGE STATION, Texas— We know the images well--a wildfire quickly spreading across acres and acres of land, taking out everything in its path.
Even a small grass fire has the potential to turn into a massive blaze.
The Texas A&M Forest Service plays an important role in fighting devastating fires across the state.
They said being prepared is key to prevention.
“It doesn't have to be a big wildfire to cause home loss, injuries, or fatalities,” said Phillip Truitt, Communications Specialist with the Texas A&M Forest Service.
Truitt has been in the field fighting those flames.
He said this time of year is when people need to be aware of what may cause a blaze to spread.
“Our grasses are going into winter dormancy and that’s when they look brown or golden, and during that time if we have a day with high winds and relatively low humidity, they’re prime to be fuel for a wildfire,” said Truitt.
In one day alone this month, the Texas A&M Forest Service fought 11 fires across the state.
“A lot of them are wind-driven, so we have those days with the high winds and the winds are pushing those fires,” said Truitt.
“We had some in the Panhandle this spring and the fire was moving seven miles per hour,” he added.
In fact, the National Inter-Agency Fire Center predicts that at the beginning of the year, central Texas is above normal for potential wildfire risk.
Something, Truitt said, can be prevented.
“The biggest thing is to mitigate the risk around your home. Keep the grass short and mowed,” said Truitt.
Some people may look at their partially green grass and decide that it might not need attention.
However, Truitt said, that on a day with low humidity, the grass can dry out in just a few hours, and will burn.
Many people aren’t even aware they may be responsible for starting a fire.
Truitt said it could be a case of people burning debris or brush and leaving it unattended and the sparks get out, or a vehicle pulls off the road into tall grass that sparks a fire.
He said to be aware of your environment, especially on days that are dryer with low humidity.
“Just remember that any spark will start of a fire,” said Truitt.
“Everything you do, be cognizant of what’s going on and view the local weather forecast before you do any activities that cause a spark. Just be aware of what’s going on,” he added.
For more information on protecting your home from wildfires, click here.